The ninth Augustinian International Encounter for Young Adults took place in Sydney, Australia on 21st – 27th July 2008. A total of 290 young adults and male and female Augustinians participated.
The general theme of the Encounter was taken from Chapter 2 of the Acts of the Apostles, “sharing all things in common.”
On the day immediately after the completion of World Youth Day, St Augustine’s College at Brookvale (Sydney) became the venue for the opening ceremony and banquet of the Augustinian Encounter. On the following day, everyone moved five kilometres to the Collaroy Conference centre for the remaining days of the Encounter.
A unique feature of Day 3 of the Encounter was a day of reflection in a national park that contained Australian “bush” (light forest). Guides from among the Aboriginal people of Australia explained their culture, their respect for the Earth, and their spirituality to the participants of the Encounter. The day ended with a Eucharist in the natural surroundings.
Later days of the Encounter dwelt on the topics of St Augustine, social justice and community. Sunset on Day 5 featured a candlelight Via Lucis liturgy at the Collaroy Centre.
On each day of the Encounter various national groups made group presentations, sometimes in song, dance and humour, and at other times in thoughtful contribution to the themes of the event.
During free time in the evenings, young adults had an Encounter coffee shop where they could relax and meet. One of the evenings featured a traditional Australian Bush Dance.
On the final evening of the Encounter, the theme of Body of Christ was brought to a conclusion by a Eucharist, which was led by the Augustinian Prior General. It was celebrateld on a grassed area immediately beside Collaroy Beach and the Pacific Ocean.
This was the first Augustinian International Encounter held outside of Europe, and an Asian presence was much more visible than it had been at previous Encounters. This was assisted by 44 participants from Augustinian ministries in the Philippines and 11 from Korea. There were also 3 young Augustinians present from India.
As well, three other Asia-Pacific nations were represented at an Augustinian Encounter for the first time: they came from Augustinian ministries in Indonesia (2 male and 1 female religious), Vietnam (6 young adults) and Thailand (2 young adults from ministries involving the Order).
The Encounter involved 236 young adults, 47 male and 7 female Augustinian religious. These people came from 16 nations where Augustinian ministry occurs. All continents of the world were represented.
Photos (at right): Images taken by young adult participants at the Augustinian Youth Encounter, Sydney, July 2008.
To view the photo gallery of the previous Augustinian International Youth Encounters at Pavia, Italy in 2006 and at Guadarrama, Spain in 2003, choose the titles Pavia Augustinian Encounter and Spain Guadarrama after you click here.